Janet Davenport – singing the Star-Spangled Banner, Centralia FFA – flag poles, members of Centralia Boy Scout Troop 90 and Cub Scout Pack 90 – reciting the pledge of allegiance and mother nature – 90-degree summer sun.
That was the recipe Dennis Mills and other veterans used for the raising of Centralia’s picturesque Avenue of Flags at the Centralia City Cemetery the hot afternoon of July 2.
Mills said this was at least the 13th year of the Avenues.
This is Independence Day weekend and estimated 477 flags are flying over the cemetery on the south side of Highway 22.
“I am so grateful to the FFA coming out this morning, it’s a warm feeling, they put the poles out. That was a blessing in of itself. Some of us old veterans are getting too old to put the poles out… I was great to have them do that and everybody come out here and help put flags out.”
One of the estimated 50 volunteers out in the sun was Kylee Chrisman, a Centralia FFA alumnus and frequent volunteer who literally grew up with the event said she was out there raising flags with her parents to help the veterans.
“American pride,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who want to give thanks to the veterans and this is one way of expressing it.”
Bob Bias, chief of the Centralia Police Department, and his wife Sheila were also there.
“This is a great representation of our veterans. I know these guys from the VFW, these guys are the heart and soul of Centralia.” Looking around at the flags rapidly rising, he said “This is great, it means a lot to Centralia and a lot to Boone County… Families from Hallsville will come up and they will be so happy to see this… It’s a fact this brings tears to their eyes, and mine.”
For the full article, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.